As we head into Q2 of 2019 the term fintech continues to evolve and expand and, depending on who you ask, it’s either the best or the worst time to start a fintech business. FinTechs are expanding into every category of financial services and also creating new ones, through cryptocurrencies (we now have a Crypto Credit Card), blockchain maturity - how else will you track your lettuce? - and even new startup investment offerings.
There is also a blurring of the distinction between fintech’s and their financial institution incumbents. This is due to Incumbents acquiring, investing in, or partnering with fintech organizations to support their own strategies, while incumbents are maturing with some beginning to appear more “bank-like” (or at least in the case of Robinhood maybe biting off a little more than they can chew).
With this expansion, crowding and competitiveness also follow. Especially as tech giants such as Apple continue with their expansions and Facebook look at raising $1 billion for its new cryptocurrency project. Any stand-out success in the upcoming year will require significant partnership and investment to really compete (as well as a product solving some really interesting problems). Here are a few trends we see, and also hope to see, happen for the remainder of the year.
Let’s start with Money. Investor interest in FinTech is very much on the rise globally. Investment in ASEAN countries in 2018 will exceed the $5.7 billion invested in 2017 by 20% to 30%. Outside of traditional VC and Private Equity money, Banks and more traditional Financial Institutions are also investing in FinTechs with BPCE, RBS, and Barclays all making significant investments in 2018.
2018 dubbed was the “Crypto Winter”, with Cryptocurrencies prices and the popularity of ICO’s plummeting. While this trend may remain the same for the general public in 2019, this is not the case for financial institutions, who seem to be investing heavily into tech for the digital asset market with startups securing $850 million across 13 deals in VC funding year to date (per PitchBook data).
The SEC also has Crypto lawyers hard at work trying to determine whether their “plain English” guidance on ICO’s and Tokens clarifies things or just muddies them further. On the flip side of this China is cracking down on Cryptocurrency and Token-based activities — banning ICO’s last year and just recently cracked down on Cryptocurrency mining.
Best bets in this space remain with Blockchain tech, which is starting to gain serious industrial momentum. Many Financial Institutions have been busy experimenting with blockchain solutions to solve a variety of pain points in the industry. We’ve seen these early experiments begin to bear fruit in 2018 and 2019 should see some of these solutions really start to mature. With IBM’s Food Trust, for example, who counts Walmart, Kroger, Nestlé and Carrefour, among its 50-plus members.
CHANGES IN REGULATION
It’s not just the SEC, but big battles are upcoming in the US as Washington tries to figure out what, if any, regulation is needed to reign in technology platforms (such as Facebook and Twitter).
Meanwhile in the UK hiring growth numbers could be dampened by Brexit and uncertainty surrounding it. Especially as 25% of IT professionals come from outside the UK (FinTech salaries have also increased between 6% and 8%, likely as FinTechs in the UK strive to stay an attractive option for the right tech talent). In addition, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposed regulatory changes that would limit marketplace investors on lending platforms to be certified (read: high-net-worth) investors, and also restrict their investments to less than 10% of their net assets. This will create a bunch of investment pressure that will likely result in a number of marketplace lenders shutting down.
And it’s not just large political regulatory changes that impact fintech, it’s the increase in frequency. Check the chart below for the year-on-year increases in financial regulatory activity globally. Which explains, in some part, why partnering with tech companies is a solid strategy to help tackle regulatory hurdles that legacy incumbent technology stacks may not be able to address.
ASIA MAY RULE
San Francisco still leads the pack when it comes to FinTech investments overall, followed by the UK, which last year saw a 61% increase in fintech job creation and is threatening to take San Francisco’s crown if regulation doesn’t impede progress. However, earlier this year in an annual letter to shareholders, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jaime Daimon said, “it’s hard not to be both impressed and a little worried,” about China’s progress into the AI and fintech sectors. According to a report from Robocash, SouthEast Asia remains the best market for FinTechs, at least for near term developments.
The rise of Neobanks will continue to strengthen — particularly in Europe, with success stories such as Tide and Starling and others like Tandem and Monzo who are looking to diversify their offerings.
Some of these well established European challengers like Germany’s N26(currently with 2.5 million users) and the UK’s Revolut, as well as Israel’s Pepper, are all looking at capitalizing globally, and in particular with expansion into the US market, which now houses a much friendly regulatory environment for non-incumbents to obtain banking licenses, and with mass adoption of mobile-friendly banking services, the market is starting to catch up with other regions, with companies such as Chime, which now has over 2 million accounts and adding more customers a month than Wells Fargo or Citibank and Finn, which is a spin-off from JP Morgan Chase.
Every January brings with it the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Bringing in an estimated 180,000+ people, it’s one of the biggest technology shows in the world with all kinds of tech companies ranging from small startups to big brands showing off their best tech and ambitions for the coming year.
Through all of the spectacle, flashy lights, and gadgets, the show also offers a deeper insight into industry trends, emerging technology, and future shifts. The 2019 show saw a lot of “more of the same” but the key difference this year seems to be most of these trends are ready to go (and many partnerships with Amazon, Google and Apple exist). Here are my key takeaways:
5G — The Key Future Ingredient
5G networks are here with the first US network to go live in the next couple of months. This new cellular standard has plenty of people buzzing (including me) that this is the next big thing to bring around a large incremental step in technological advances — in the same way that 3G enabled the rise of the Smartphone. The lightning-fast networks will change how telecommunications shapes business and consumer behavior.
5G isn’t an incremental bump to cellular network speeds, it can provide ten times faster speeds, fifty times lower latency, and a tenfold advantage in terms of the number of connected devices it can support, it’s a triple whammy. This has massive implications not just for the mobile phone industry — who definitely see it as the next big thing — but also with commercial and industrial IoT, self-driving vehicles, health, and Smart City initiatives.
AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon made big announcements on their 5G networks (some of them “fake” 5G) while Sprint, Intel and Qualcomm announced a range of devices for mobile devices, vehicles, and laptops.
Voice — everywhere
In the last two years of CES, Google and Amazon have really shown up, pushing their personal assistants and voice-controlled devices both inside and outside the show floor at various booths and displays, signaling that digital assistants haven’t just reached the mainstream but are becoming ubiquitous. There were no remarkable announcements made at CES but given the rapid year of adoption we have seen with Alexa, Google (and Siri and Cortana to a lesser extent), it is definitely prime time for Voice based computing. I saw plenty of smart home products and consumer partnerships with Google and Alexa. Every product seemed to have a voice assistant, including Cars…
As we noted in at last years Show, cars are now front and center at CES and the transportation industry is now firmly part of the tech industry. Ford, Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan, Kia and just about every other major car manufacturer have lavish booths and futuristic designs on display at CES and are occupying more and more of the showroom floor each year. But even in Vehicles, Google and Amazon are there and it seems to be the next major competitive arena for Voice Assistants (Editors note: Yes I have already pre-ordered my own Alexa Car Assistant).
Lyft was also at CES in a partnership with Aptiv, providing self-driving transportation experiences at the conference and BMW was providing real and virtual test drives - I got to drive an M5, X7, and an i8
Byton! Seemingly out of nowhere (well OK, they were at CES last year). They are one of the few automotive/EV companies trying to totally re-imagine what the inside of a car should look like if and when they become fully autonomous right now — their current iteration involves at least 5 touchscreens, including one that spans the entire windshield.
And we can’t talk about vehicles at CES without also mentioning the flying kind. Uber’s has a big air taxi initiative with Bell Aerospace unveiling the latest prototype of the Nexus VTOL aircraft called Elevate (aka the Uber’s air taxi) The prototype on display isn’t operational, but Bell hopes to begin testing in 2020 and are working with the FAA to develop all the relevant regulations!
Mobile advertising company, Smaato, published a report earlier this month that highlighted global trends in mobile ad spend, analyzing an impressive 1.5 trillion ad impressions. Here are some top takeaways:
David Skok of Matrix Partners and the team from the Bridge Group are back again this year for their Account Executive report for 2017 — this is now the tenth year of the report where they track how metrics and compensation for this sales based role has shifted over time.
SaaS, and other recurring revenue businesses face growth challenges due to the revenue for their services being fed in over an extended period of time, so this report offers specific analysis and recommendations based on high quality data to help inform the way SaaS companies build out their sales strategy and consider changes to their sales organization to optimize these revenues. Here are some top key takeaways and trends (kept as brief as possible):
TERRITORIES STILL REIGN
Building geographic based territories continues to be the leading approach, especially for earlier stage companies ($0-$20m in annualized revenues). Beyond those revenues, territory based approaches drop off significantly (obvious trend here is keep things simple until you can’t at ScaleUp). Interesting side point is that about 50% of the companies surveyed have sales reps working in different geographic regions. A few factors at play that explain this but mainly it’s the adding of offices via acquisition and highly competitive markets in certain regions for staff.
THE SALES DEVELOPMENT REPS (SDR’s), ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES (AE) and CUSTOMER SUCESS (CSM) COMBO OF ROLES REMAINS STRONG.
The higher the Annual Contract Value (ACV) a company has, the more important these distinct and specialized roles are. For companies under $5m ARR these positions are generally not split out as specialized roles.
66% of the account executives surveyed are supported by SDR teams and this did not seem to vary based on company revenues, but SDR’s add more value (via revenue) at higher ACV’s — see chart below.
SDR’s generate positive returns only on ACVs greater than $4k. For non revenue KPI’s, those AE’s supported by SDR’s see an average of 9.8 meetings per month.
Outbound sales development (via SDR teams) generates roughly 1/4 of the total pipeline of an AE. Keep in mind that outbound prospecting is expensive so companies that have overall lower ACV’s, an outbound sales development channel may be difficult to justify.
50% of companies split new business revenues and renewal revenues into specialized roles for management (AE’s and CSM’s). Only companies with smaller revenues ( less than $5m ARR) keep these roles combined.
Also noteworthy is that companies with month-to-month or seminary annualized contract terms are less likely to split out these roles.
With companies that do split out roles, account are transferred from AE’s to CSM’s after an average of 3.6 months from close.
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE TENURE and ATTRITION
Average rep tenure sits at 2.4 years, (with an average prior experience of 2.6 years) but there seems to be a strong correlation to increased tenure and increased ACV.
Average AE turnover sits at 30% (this is both voluntary and involuntary attrition).
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION & QUOTA
Average on target earnings (OTE) now sits at $126K with average base salaries at $62K. Mix is generally in the 40% to 60% range of base to OTE.
Average annual quota was found to be $770K in ACV and on average, quota was found to be 5.3X OTE — which remains stable across ACV and company annualized revenues.
AE’s are expected to ramp up at about the 4.5 month mark (which is up 20% from 2015)
67% of AE’s achieve quota — this metric has remained pretty consistent over many years. 2/3 of reps meeting quota is a good metric to gauge. There is much more data on quota, OTE and commission within the report, I suggest taking a deeper dive on compensation as it is varied based on ACV and plan type.
MARKETING, MARKETING, MARKETING
On average, 36% of an AE group’s pipeline is sourced by marketing.This includes inbound SDR support, but excludes outbound sales development efforts. The earlier stage the company is though, the more dependent they are on marketing as a source of revenue
This year, for the first time, the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index, which benchmarks retirement income systems around the world, included New Zealand in the report - issuing an overall "B" rating.
That’s actually an OK performance (no country received an “A” rating) and New Zealand performed well when it came to the integrity of the system and government. But it was let down by the adequacy and sustainability assessment section, getting a combined rating of 67.4 (out of a possible 100), placing New Zealand in 9th place overall. This means there is plenty of room for improvement and the report recognized the following areas of focus that could increase future scores:
There are currently about 2.8 million people signed up to Kiwisaver in New Zealand who have, collectively, invested $40 billion into the various schemes. However there are still 500,000 working-age people that are not registered, with many who are registered in the scheme not contributing anything to it, and many more are set to default contribution and investment settings, meaning that their future savings potential is far from optimized.
Recently the New Zealand Financial Market Authority (FMA) discussed it’s disappointed with the level of personalised financial advice, specifically for KiwiSaver members, referencing a 2015 report that found just one in a thousand people getting tailored advice when joining or switching a Kiwisaver scheme. The FMA also recently refreshed it’s strategic outlook and identified rapid technological change as an emerging theme that it needed to be prepared for and last year the government also announced proposals to reform legislation governing financial advisers in an effort to streamline the different types of advisers and advice
If you are a Kiwisaver member you are entitled to know what's going on with your funds, and get access to the right kind of financial advice to decide what type of fund is best for your personal savings or retirement goals. These default Kiwisaver accounts were never intended to be permanent and the timing is now right to make your next move.
A lot happened in Tech this week. Like a lot. And the week isn’t even over.
Most of this was due to some very significant conferences happening in San Francisco; primarily Facebook’s F8 conference and Amazon’s AWS Summit.
Immersive, AI and Voice experiences were the key themes and these are the trends for the future of the internet. Which is why it makes this weeks activity and announcements pretty important. Below are the highlights:
AMAZON — Voice is the new Internet
Voice assistants are changing the way we interact with the internet and Amazon Lex, which is the artificial intelligence (AI) technology behind Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, is now available to all developers starting this week.
Opening up this platform means that developers can build more voice and chat enabled apps powered by Amazon’s Alexa (including New Zealand’s own ARDA) and because it is integration focused, they can also be published within existing chat platforms such as Facebook’s Messenger or Slack. What’s important here is that AI is only as good as the data it leverages over time, so opening up Alexa in this way will give Amazon a big jump on competitors.
Amazing side note: Amazon Web Services (AWS), which a lot of Alexa based services will integrate with and run on, now also accounts for 1/3 of all of Amazons job openings (Amazon currently have a whopping 16,800 vacancies!!)
FACEBOOK — AR and Chat is going prime time
Facebook is a company with many interests but this week they made a massive statement within the Augmented Reality (AR) space (as well as to continue to rip off SnapChat) by announcing an AR platform that will provide developers the tools to create products that recognize physical surroundings. Some of the new features unveiled by Facebook include a Camera Effects platform, not very dissimilar to SnapChats, which includes an AR Studio and Frame Studio that third-party developers can contribute to.
The latest iteration of Messenger Platform was also launched and seems to have an increased emphasis on businesses and commerce. For example Mastercard announced partnerships with three retailers that enable chatbot purchasing inside the Messenger app. This marks an interesting move towards what the Credit Card company calls “conversational commerce,”
Oh! And as part of Facebooks progression into AR and VR (and ripping off more of Snapchat), they also launched some camera hardware with two 360-degree cameras. The main difference here is that Facebook doesn’t plan on selling the cameras themselves. Instead, Facebook plans to license the x24 and x6 designs to a “select group of commercial partners.”
Facebook also owns Oculus so it’s interest in immersive video will not be primarily focused on the social networking side of the business, but immersive video viewing has been in a feature in the Social Network feed for a while.
After several months of teasing a product, Snapchat chose this week (likely due to the F8 conference) to release “World Lenses”, which is their newest AR product set.
Both Facebook and Snapchat are now competing not just as Social Media competitors but as AR platforms. But the use case metrics can’t be ignored here — FB outcompetes Snapchat big time and the “Stories” feature in Instagram, which is a total rip off of Snapchat Stories, now has more Daily Active Users (DAU) than Snapchats.
APPLE — in the Enterprise
Not to be outdone in the announcements space, Apple made its iWork productivity suite (the Apple version of Microsoft Office) and iLife applications (GargeBand and iMovie) free to all iOS and macOS users on Tuesday. This is an effort by Apple to keep iOS and Mac users within the Apple ecosystem and to streamline access to productivity apps for enterprise users — which Apple is making serious headways into.
MICROSOFT — buhbye passwords!
We all know that passwords are the worst and Microsoft feels your pain — but only if you are a Microsoft user. This week they introduced a new way for users to sign into Microsoft accounts that removes the need to remember your latest password, you just need to remember your phone, which we all know that none of us leave home without. More on how that works here.
GOOGLE — Earth (not) VR
Google Earth had a complete reboot this week that was 2 years in the making and is ready with interactive guided tours. Interestingly it is not quite VR ready yet and I’m not quite sure what to make of that except that I’m positive it is on the Google Earth road map
Multi voice recognition is now available to Google Home. Which means homes can now register multiple users with Google home products, and recognizes them by voice. This likely makes Google Assistant, the engine behind Google Voice, the main competitor to Alexa (sorry Siri!)
GO-PRO — VR
CameraGoPro is struggling to remain relevant after a rough 12 months. Today the company took the wraps off a new spherical camera called Fusion which is a device designed for creating fully immersive content (at 5.2k) as well as non-VR video and still photos. This now pits Go-Pro firmly against Snapchat and Facebooks Camera efforts.
It being Go-Pro, of course they have an amazing promo video to watch
Well I did have my money on PushPay being the next company reaching that billion dollar valuation in New Zealand, but, as with most large scale New Zealand technology companies, it's not privately held, which disqualifies it from the Unicorn label. But hey, doesn't matter, my bet was wrong and I didn't see this one coming.
Which is particularly annoying as Frontier Tech is one of my favorite sectors - with cool ass shit like this, this and this. New Zealand's own Frontier Tech pioneer, Rocket Lab, today announced it had secured a new funding round of US$75 million to help with the production of it's rockets once it gets past the testing stages. If you don't know anything about RocketLab yet, lemme tell you:
RocketLab has developed lightweight, cost-effective commercial carbon fibre rocket launch services that can deliver high-frequency, low-mass payload deliveries into space - essentially capable of commoditizing the satellite delivery business. All being launched from lil' old New Zealand.
Currently, many small satellite companies have to wait years to get their kit into orbit. Often at the mercy and schedules of larger companies, government organizations and their associated payloads - and also at extraordinary expense. RocketLab will launch satellites for a cool $US5m at a clip.
This current funding round places the privately held company with a valuation of $1.4bn NZD ($1b USD) and was led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Data Collective
Hey!………..IT’S ALL ABOUT NETWORKSThe SaaStr Annual Conference is actually all about the SaaS communitygetting intimate, and is intentionally focused on networking and leveraging that community by design. It’s about making connections that will help you today and five years from now. So don’t go in with the mindset around only learning new things at the panels. Yes, the content of the conference is high quality, but it is intended to attract all the right people together to one spot for a set and focused amount of time.
Leveraging the shit out of that opportunity, and preparing for it, should be your primary focus.
According to the Founder of SaaStr, Jason Lemkin, this year’s conference gathered around 10,000 SaaS professionals in one space and took place across three full and varied days. The average company brings 2.3 total attendees, e.g., a CEO + a VP of Sales and a VP of Customer Success.
Because of this, the conference is broken up a lot around different functional areas and interests, including evening events and parties. This is all by design, to make sure attendees get to meet great people in general, and especially their peers in the SaaS ecosystem.
SaaStr Networking Pro Tips (and rules to live by)
I’m not a natural networker. In fact, I find it mentally exhausting at times. But I do like to connect people together and if you don’t put yourself out there at events like this, you will be missing out on some amazing opportunities to learn and to grow both personally and within your business.
Here are the top 5 tips from networking SaaStr and other events:
In January each year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) brings innovation and technology from over 150 countries around the world, and from what we saw, the new technology in 2017 will be huge.
It’s really hard to narrow down all of the experiences at CES, as it was truly massive, but below are eight of the hottest trends and what to look out for this year:
1. NEW ZEALAND TECH
This year’s continued collaboration between NZTE and Callaghan was greater than ever, with 20 NZ companies represented at Booths, on TV, withawards, hosting off-floor commercial business meetings, featured inpublications and enjoying themselves immensely. At the StartUp area, in the Eureka Park space of the Sands, the New Zealand presence was only outdone by France and Israel.
The Detroit Car Show overlapped CES this year. However, the massive presence of major automakers at the show proved that technology and automotive are now forever intertwined. CES is just as much about cars as it is consumer tech.
High: Nvidia showing their GPU (over CPU) capabilities that are an ideal fit for autonomous vehicles that require massive real-time processing power and BMW/Intel showing what they can do to the in-car experience.
Low: Farraday Fail — A great example of too much hype with only the outside of the car available for viewing and a keynote demo that unfortunately failed to work.
Drones or UAV’s as the industry prefers to call them are at the show in even greater quantities and capabilities than last year.
High: New Zealand companies representing fantastic Drone Technology. Dotterel’s noise reduction technologies and Boxfish’s incredibly nimble and stable underwater drone (OK — ROV) was a huge hit! The Discovery Channel came over to their booth a few times to drool and film their device.
Low: UAV’s are not universally loved with one booth on the Drone floor being a “Drone Gun” for literally shooting down drones in the surrounding air space.
4. SMART THINGS
The robots are coming but not just in ways that can fold your laundry, drive your car, clean your grill or vacuum your house. By Smart Things we don’t just mean IoT devices. They are just part of the Smart Things movement this year. Smart Things means that we saw Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Machine Learning capabilities everywhere.
High: Amazon being a clear winner as Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant turned up wherever it made sense.
Low: Alexa even showed up in places where she wasn’t really required too.
5. VIRTUAL REALITY
This was the most talked about marketplace as measured through all Social Media channels and is definitely expanding beyond just the gaming world.
High: The NBA provided a demo of what VR participation at basketball games could look like. A really compelling use case! Also, technology and hardware acceleration breakthroughs are providing experiences that are incredibly high definition with very quick screen refresh rates (which is the main cause of “VR Nausea” in many current uses).
Low: People just look a little ridiculous when using VR, no avoiding it.
The most used hashtag at CES (even though #AR and #VR combined was greater).
High: For some time now we have seen how connected devices can seamlessly link smartphones and computers to control temperature, appliances, home lights music and security in your home (shout out here to NZ’s WirelesssGuard). But by adding in the layers of artificial intelligence, your home can now gain a deeper understanding of habits tastes, preferences and patterns.
Low: Some products are just looking for problems to solve — like smart toasters (apparently the burnt toast market is huge).
7. VOICE FIRST
Get used to this phrase (as well as “Screenless Internet interactions”). The age of voice only interactions on the internet is here, and the hashtag #voicefirst trended like crazy this year at CES. As connected devices become more intuitive to our needs and experiences, voice will be playing an important role, we’re looking to you, Siri and Alexa. We are on the brink of a shift away from touch screens (again with AI being a key lever in this transition).
High: ARDA — New Zealand’s very own AI Coaching engine designed for wearables were featured at the Intel Booth. It sits within a pair of Oakley Glasses, where the athlete can simply ask ARDA workout based questions and get coach-based input from the device.
Low: OK this one is also a high. A reporter demonstrated the capabilities of Amazon’s Alexa that resulted in Alexa ordering a child’s requests for dollhouses and ordering to people who were watching this TV report.
8. TV’s and CAMERAS
TVs are the reliable spectacle of CES — Smaller, thinner, better was the theme this year and we have finally reached peak display thinness. LCD-based technologies were highly represented (such as quantum dot) — which seems to mark the end of OLED and 4K streaming is finally here across most streaming providers (Roku, Chromecast, etc).
High: LG stole the TV show that included the shockingly thin and bright W7, which the company describes as the “lightest, thinnest, and most beautiful TV on the planet.” We would agree. 360 Camera rigs look fantastic — with the only underwater professional one provided by New Zealand’s own, BoxFish.
Low: Do you want to sit all day in a mermaid outfit?
Just to give you some concept of how BIG CES is below are some impressive stats:
Distance walked: Over the 4 days we were there for the show, Jon’s fitness tracker measured just over 50km over walking.
Number of attendees: This year attendance was put at over 200,000 people. 4.5% of NZ’s population showed up to play with gadgets!
Number of booths: 3900.
Tweets: 9300/hr on average referencing #CES2017 and over 1.5million tweets in total, peaking at 7 Billion potential people reached on Friday, January 6th.
My reaction to Apple’s most recent announcement yesterday was not like most others (yes I’m looking to the likes of you Venture Beat and Quartz). They did something this week that they have never done before, and it was impressive.
Before any mention of a new smaller cheaper phone at the event, they talked about your privacy, and the planet…….a lot. Then they talked about people.
After a brief Tim Cook jab at the US Government, the event really started with a female VP - Lisa Jackson, vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives - to talk about Apple's impact on the environment. Here are the highlights:
Lisa went on to announce that, even though a lot of iPhones get reused, Apple are launching a recycling program for ageing products with a robot called Liam, that has BB8 like cuteness, but can take apart an iPhone like no-one's business.
After which Apple discussed CareKit - a framework for health professionals to build apps that help patients keep tabs on their treatments. Oh and it’s Open Source (and a big reason to maintain Apple’s encryption stance).
Let me say this again. This all went down before any mention of a new tiny iPhone. This is no longer Steve Jobs' Apple.
Perhaps people are used to the Apple events of old, with blinkers myopically focused on the latest and greatest must-have Apple products, to have heard the real pivotal message: Apple is now more than a shiny impersonal Mac. They are now a crusader for personal privacy, willing to go head to head with the US Government; an advocate of accessibility, Health and technology; and more than anything, wanting to take better care of this planet. Check this chart as to how they stack up.
With a Market Cap of about $600 Billion, and cash reserves in the Billions (andgrowing), Apple has great power and for the first time ever, showed great responsibility.
Now don’t get me wrong, they are far from being a perfect company but this is an amazing pivot in their narrative and I can’t wait for their next event. Tim Cook’s Apple now, more than ever, offers the tantalizing possibility of something unexpected.
This is a cross post from weliveinasciencefictionfuture - but we all need to revisit the Wisdom of Louis CK sometimes. It’s a great refresher..........
The partnership will allow Rocket Lab to conduct missions from NASA's launch complexes (in addition to its primary site in little old New Zealand).
Rocket Lab says it is on track for its first test launch at the end of the year after resource consent and the company already has around 30 potential customers.
What else is awesome is that their engine makes use of electric turbo-pumps and the majority of its components are 3D printed.
Elon Musk and Richard Branson - pay attention. Our Science Fiction Future is getting real!
The "EMDrive" rocket created by NASA could defy the known laws of physics by, you know, letting us travel at ridiculous speeds without any propellant - no rocket fuel required!!!
As Wired.com commented;
"Some damage to our theories of physics is an acceptable payoff if we get a working space drive."
Day trips to the moon anyone?
Yup, you read this right.......Tesla just casually announced a little firmware update for their cars that they will be pushing over the air in July that will allow them to drive all by themselves.
Autopilot. Driver-less. Knight Rider kind of shit.
Now this feature is not just for their new cars. This is for their cars in use, on the streets, right now. And no it's not April 1st.
The cars will have the capability to be in Autopilot mode on highways and to be summoned by you (I can picture myself whistling for my trusty Tesla now).
If you make it to the moon, Google will give you $30 million bucks